Italian pool of asbestos workers cohorts: asbestos related mortality by industrial sector and cumulative exposure

Bladder Cancer

Ann Ist Super Sanita. 2020 Jul-Sep;56(3):292-302. doi: 10.4415/ANN_20_03_07.


OBJECTIVE: Italy has been a large user of asbestos and asbestos containing materials until the 1992 ban. We present a pooled cohort study on long-term mortality in exposed workers.

METHODS: Pool of 43 Italian asbestos cohorts (asbestos cement, rolling stock, shipbuilding, glasswork, harbors, insulation and other industries). SMRs were computed by industrial sector for the 1970-2010 period, for the major causes, using reference rates by age, sex, region and calendar period.

RESULTS: The study included 51 801 subjects (5741 women): 55.9% alive, 42.6% died (cause known for 95%) and 1.5% lost to follow-up. Asbestos exposure was estimated at the plant and period levels. Asbestos related mortality was significantly increased. All industrial sectors showed increased mortality from pleural malignancies, and most also from peritoneal and lung cancer and asbestosis, with exposure related trend. Increased mortality was also observed for ovarian cancer and for bladder cancer.

DISCUSSION: The study confirmed the increased risk for cancer of the lung, ovary, pleura and peritoneum but not of the larynx and the digestive tract. A large increase in mortality from asbestosis was observed.